CSX and campus police join together in Operation Lifesaver
By Christian Felkl
On average 50 or more trains travel through Pembroke daily.
Operation Lifesaver is used to promote public awareness about railroad crossings and comes to campus every spring. It is sponsored by a nonprofit organization and the railroad system that uses the tracks in Pembroke, CSX.
Photo from Pine Needle Archive
On average at least 50 trains travel through Pembroke on any given day. Sometimes they even break down forcing students to take unnecessary risks to get to class, as shown in this Pine Needle archive photo.
The purpose of Operation Lifesaver is to provide education about crossings, railroad safety and safety. There are three E’s that CSX uses to teach people: education, engineering and enforcement, according to PR representative and public safety administrator Nelson High.
When crossing a railroad track, a pedestrian is not supposed to cross on the road, but use the crosswalk because that is where the ground is most level. That is one of the main things CSX is trying to promote, according to High.
CSX also provides those interested with facts about accidents involving trains and vehicles, including the fact that every two hours there is a collision involving a train, according to High.
Around 25 percent of vehicles run into the side of a train. Of all the accidents two-thirds happen in broad daylight and with slower trains.
Repetition and familiarity are the cause of the accidents, High said.
On every crossing gate there is an 1,800 number and a mile marker so when the number goes to the dispatcher they know where the caller is.
This number can be used to make CSX aware if there is a car stuck or someone is injured on the track so they can attempt to stop the train, High said.
Trains have the right of way.
The average train weighs 6000 tons with 50 cars.
If it is traveling at 55 mph it takes about one mile to stop it completely or 18 football fields.
If it has 200 cars, it takes about two miles to stop.